Tennis, Georgie, Andrea Petkovic discussed on The Tennis.com Podcast
Here with a veteran, a fan favorite in multiple places around the world. She's had the pleasure of playing in multiple eras and is a person people look to mentor and for advice. Andrea petkovic. Thank you for having me, although veteran and multiple era. You're already put me down in two seconds. That's okay. Well, let me tell you. It's not a put down, because that's just more time on tour means bigger fan base. Yeah, that's true. When I was coaching, people would call me, hey, can you give me a picture with peck a bitch? Like a picture with me and peck a vision sent to you? No, it hurt by herself. And I was like, no, it's creepy. I'm not going to ask her for a picture. So you can tell them you know there's a thing it's called Google pictures. I know, right? So I get requests about you and Georgie. Oh, really? No, interesting. And we are nothing alike. How does Georgie look in person? You know? So we were talking. All right. We can just wave. So we were just talking about how you had the pleasure of playing in multiple eras. And that doesn't make you feel old. A little old, but it's okay. I'm still, you know, in the side of me, I still have a fountain of youth that is welling up every now and then. And you just want a title. So clearly the fountain of youth is like there. Yeah, I'm in my fourth spring. Of my tennis career already. So like, to have a long career like that. I mean, one of the things when I look at you, I think about number one professionalism. Number two, positivity. And like I always tell you, you're an adult. And you're like, what do you mean I'm an adult? It was like the depth of the conversation that you have, just on a whim is hard to come by, right? In a sport full of, you know, young people. So what do you think has been the key to you having such a long and successful care? I just long, but long and successful. Well, there are, I think there are a few things, I think, resilience is one big part of it because if you have a career that's so long, there will be down. There will be values that you have to go through. And I think in that moment, if you just stick with it, and that's the best advice sometimes girls ask me younger girls ask me like, how did you come back after your injuries or how did you get back to the highs after all these setbacks? And it's kind of really simple and really hard at the same time. Just keep doing it. Just stick with it. And I think the hardest thing because I've seen many of my colleagues that were around my age younger, a little older that have retired now and I'm still playing. And I was ready to retire too, but then something inside of me still wanted to do this what I love most and it's tennis. I love playing. I love competing. I think that's also maybe a difference. There are a lot of girls who love playing tennis, but sometimes the competition can be like a war of attrition after a while and after so many years. And I still thrive in this competitive environment. I love to I love the tough moments and matches. I love the stress and I think that's what keeps me going, but yeah, I know it's not a thing that lasts forever and it makes me sad at the same time sometimes. Oh wow. So we've seen Kim Clijsters like retire and come back three times. So how many times have you considered retirement? And did like boredom bring you back or you just said the competitive, but how many times you sit home and says, eh, I want to go do photography now. Well, I wish I could make nice photographs my Instagram would be better. But I had to, I think big moments and I talked to a lot of my colleagues and I think a lot of them had it. And it's when a woman turns around 28 29 as a tennis player, I think that's the first time you sort of have to ask yourself questions that you maybe haven't ask yourself before. And that's like, do I want a family biology is kicking into play? You start to get a little more tired. I felt when I was 28, 29, I all of a sudden felt this strange strange knew I had these strange new thoughts. Oh, my God, I missed everything in my life. I had no youth. I had no partying. I had no crazy college phase. I can't be a doctor anymore. I can't be a lawyer anymore. All these strange thoughts came to me when I was 28, 29, and that was probably the time when I was closest to retiring. And then I took a month off. I just spent a month in New York. It's one of my favorite cities. I sort of did everything that I could do when I'm not on tour. Go to bed when I want to drink a beer when I want to, you know, not have to eat gluten free sugar free whatever. I just did whatever I wanted. And after a month, I was okay. And then I came back and I was fresh again and once I think overcame that that was great. And then the last three, four years I was close just because my knee was not great and that's really hard, I think when you're somebody like me who loves to be professional and who loves to do everything they can each day to be in the best spot to perform well if your body doesn't allow you to do this. And that was really tough for me. I could practice well for two weeks and then I had three or four days where my knee would swell up. And so during the pandemic, I had the opportunity to have a little procedure done. And since then, that's my fourth spring. Since then, exactly my Nisa much better the inflammation has settled a little bit. I have more range. I can flex it better and stretch it better. So I think that's why also I was able to win another title this year and play well again. So you talked about you taking that month off to sort of just regroup and just have a normal life. And now, you know, you read now about the younger players or some of them are struggling with the press or just the pressure in that kind of thing. Is that something you would advise them to do? Because it's kind of hard, right? You got now in the contract you have minimum play requirements. You got premier mandatories. You have all these things where it's like, no, you got to play. Even if you're not ready to play. You know, what is your recommendation to somebody young players who are feeling like overwhelmed a lot more easily? Well, you know, I think the curse of humanity in general is just that we experience we have as humans would have really helped us when we are young and have the body and physics to do all the things that we want to do. And then when you have the experience, the mental experience of putting things into perspective, that's when your body starts to decline. And if you can find the sweet spot somewhere there, that's perfect, right? But so I know how these younger players are feeling because I've been there in the same position when I was 22 23. And once you're older, you know that it's really only up to you. You don't have to play the mandate, even if it's mandatory, and yes, we'll drop a few spots in the rankings, but it doesn't in the end, it doesn't matter because in the long run, if you think about what's going to be in 5 years and 6 years, if you're happy, you're still going to play tennis. And if you're as talented as these young girls, you will still be in the top. You don't have to be three or 5 or 7 right now if you can be that for ten more years if you take a break now. But this is something you know when you're older and just something that you know when you've experienced all the ups and downs. And so it's just what I think that's just part of being young and being an experienced and just going through life with, you know, taking everything at face value and everything is so overwhelming. You just have to get through it. And I hope these young players do. I know that they have more skills than we did back then. I think meditation, a mental strength, people who help you with that are much more common than it used to be when I started playing ten, 12 years ago, there was no such thing. We just sort of had to get through it and swim through the crap in a way. And but now they have more, I think possibilities to work on that, and I hope they use all these opportunities that they have. I have a plumber. So my plumber, every time something goes wrong on my house, I always have a car, I pick them up, and I say, why don't you do this? And why don't you do that? His response to me for ten years has been all the same. He says, keep living youngster. So that's kind of like when you were talking, I was thinking about, you know, the young generation and how they kind of know everything. And now you're looking back like you realize it's not that important. Well, I think also this what's really interesting, I remember when I was 1819 20, it's a really interesting mental state that you're in because at one on one side, you think you're invincible and the world belongs to you and you're the queen or the king of the world and everyone should bow to you. On the other hand, you have so little knowledge compared to what you will acquire over the course of the coming years, but you don't know that. So I think this tension between thinking you're on top of the world and that things go wrong is really hard to come by and that's something that what's being an adult all about, I think combining this thing of still believing in oneself, but also acquiring this humility that you need to go through life in a certain kind of just taking things as they are and accept them and make the best out of it. So you've had a chance to play with great players. The clyster there in the past, the Elena jock itch, you got Sarah pulver. I want to ask you about a couple different answers. Who from that era, did you just sort of could never figure out what it was like ten times and she made me all ten times. But then she loses somebody that would always be. Who from that era like gave you trouble? Well, I'll tell you, I'll tell you two anecdotes to this, or not anecdotes, but two things to this. So two players I was never able to beat, but I was always very close and Halep. And all of my matches against them when three sets, and I always lost 7 5 7 6 in the third. And the funny thing about that is that I'm not even that mad about it because the reason why I lost is because I feel or I think that's like part of my personality is that I think when it's an important moment I want to take responsibility and I want to go for the shots. And both of these players were once again Halep at the opposite of me where they are like, okay, this is an important moment. I'm not going to give her anything. So these two things are not really working well together because I was going for things. There is nothing I can really tell myself that I did wrong. I went for my shots, but because they were so endurant and more solid than I was they would always beat me in these tight moments. So that's one thing. And the other thing I had two matches in all of my career, where I felt if I even if I had played the best tennis that I was able to play that day, I still would have lost. And that was again Serena when she was going for the Grand Slam. I played her in Toronto, and the upcoming tournament to her final feat was supposed to be at the U.S. open. She then lost da Vinci. But I played her in the first round. And I played okay, I didn't play great. I played okay. I lost 6 two 6 two, but throughout the whole match, the feeling was, even if I played my best today, I will have no chance. This is how many levels above she is above me, right? That was a really weird feeling because I've never had that before. And then the other time was against Naomi Osaka and Beijing when she won, I had qualified and I was playing really well, actually. And the same result I lost 6 to 6 two. And I played again, okay, not great, but okay, and I still felt like if I played the greatest tennis of my life, I was still not be able to lose. And finally, enough, I don't know. I mean, you've been around, maybe you'll believe me. Every other match I always felt one opening at one point. Sometimes I went through it. Sometimes I turned it around sometimes I managed to win the match is sometimes not, but you have every in every match, no matter how easy you lose it, there's an opening. There is a tension you feel the other player go through. There is something where you can still turn it around. Not with Serena and Naomi, those were the two matches I didn't feel like I could win no matter how I played. So is that what keeps you going today? I mean, I still enjoy watching you play. I actually enjoy all the people that come to watch you play and you're like, gazing at you. If you want to try to give me a hum, what's up? They're all jealous because I got to kiss on the cheek from pectoralis. So is that what you're doing Corona Corona is like fist bump. But is that what keeps you going like the belief that other than maybe one or two players like today like a halla in Osaka that everybody else you feel like on a good day if I'm healthy and playing well, you got a chance? Is that what keeps you? I think it's part that it's part the feeling that I have when I walk on a court and there is a great audience and it's a beautiful court and it's I feel like there is a sort of energy that combines everyone involved and it's not only the players. It's the chair umpire. It's the lines, men and women. It's the ball boys. It's the audience. There is some kind of energy that transpires when everyone is in the match and is playing. It's like we're all one big ball of energy in that moment. And this is something that because I have done other things in life. I know there is no such thing. And any other way of life, I think, at least. And the fact that I'm so competitive that I still want to win and if I feel like I can, I'm not gonna not gonna give up. So one of the things that I think keeps you so humble and helps you sort of stay out here and travel the world is your off court activity. Photography, you're writing. Tell us one thing about yourself. So, like, when you retire, you're going to do more of this. Well, I think I'm probably going to be a writer. It comes very, very easy to me. I do some TV stuff back at home. And that comes quite easy to me too, but it's not as fun to me. Strangely, I don't know why. I know I do it well, and I know I'm good at it, but it's just, I don't know, it's like I just don't feel a 100% fulfilled when I do it. And with writing, it's a whole different thing. It's maybe the only other thing and besides tennis where I feel, oh, this is what I'm meant to do in a way. And strangely enough more than tennis because tennis was always also work for me. I'm not the most natural gifted player in the world. I have certain gifts and I have certain talents..